10 Tips for Great Book Cover Designs

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by Hilmi Saaid

Once you’ve finished writing your book, you’ll need a great cover to make it sell. Here are some tips for creating a great book cover:

1. Make Your Reader Feel The Emotion Behind The Book

He's Gone Novel bookYour images, text, font choice and color scheme should be aimed at getting the reader to feel what your book is about. Many authors make the mistake of telling the buyer what the book is about instead. Every element of the cover design should reflect the emotion in the book. For example, if you have a book that deals with dark matters, like abuse or crime, then your book cover should not necessarily be dark, but should reflect the emotions found in your book.

Some crime books have blood splatters or a weapon on the cover, this is a very “in your face” way of telling the reader what your book is about. For some books, this might be appropriate, like if you are writing a series of detective or mystery novels. However, for others, the book might be more focused on a person or family dealing with the effects of crime or abuse instead. In this case, your cover might be better served by being more ethereal or symbolic rather than “in your face”.

2. Don’t Underestimate the Power or Importance of the Cover

Joy of Zentangle bookSome authors put years into creating their literary work, then spend very little time on the actual cover. Your cover conveys so much about your book and is a main selling point before the purchase is made. Remember, when in a bookstore or browsing online for books, the main thing people see is the cover. Think about whether or not your cover is eye-catching enough to attract a buyer. With so many books to choose from, and with digital publishing allowing just about anyone to write and publish their own book, the competition is stiffer than ever. Don’t skimp on time or money when creating your book cover, think of it as an investment, nearly as important as writing the book itself.

Safe Haven book3. Know Your Target Audience

When creating your book cover, it’s absolutely critical to know your audience. Think about whom you are selling to and tailor your cover to attract them. For example, if you are writing a young adult novel that is aimed at teen girls, then pastel colors with frilly embellishments and cute fonts might be a good choice. However, if you are writing a science fiction novel, then darker colors and more modern or edgy fonts might be the right way to go.

Easy Origami book4. Don’t Be Too Obvious

Just because your book is about making money selling crafts, that doesn’t mean that your cover should have a person making crafts or examples of crafts. You should never include obvious clichés on your cover. You can accurately convey the theme of your book without being too blatant.

The Fresh 20:20 Ingredient Meal Plans book5. Keep your Key Messages in Mind

When you are designing or reviewing covers for your book, you should always keep the key messages of your book in your mind. Does the book cover convey your key message? You might also consider writing some bullet points with key phrases and themes in your book, so you can make sure you cover all bases.

How To Save Money book6. Make Readers Feel the Book before They Buy

A great book cover will make the reader feel some emotion that is in the book, like fear, joy, anger, sadness, warmth, etc. For example, if your book is about getting out of debt, then you might try to scare the reader with the cover, conveying what it feels like to be in debt. When your book is about traveling in Europe, you want the reader to be excited to read the book, and the cover should convey what it feels like to be traveling around Europe.

101 Design Methods book7. Let the Designer Design

When you have hired a book cover designer that you have confidence in, be sure to stay open-minded about what you want. An experienced book cover designer will be able to bring their expertise to your cover and might just come up with a style or theme that is perfect for your book, but you didn’t have in your mind. So, don’t be too attached to what you want and let your designer do what they do best and bring their own ideas.

Just Girlfriends book8. Get Social Media Opinions

If you have Facebook fans or friends that are familiar with your work, then consider asking them their opinion on what your book cover will be. You may even post some example covers and let them vote and comment on what they like best. Your fans and existing readers won’t steer you wrong, as they always know what they like and are attracted to.

The Designer Says book9. Stay with Your Designer

Once you have found the right designer for your book and are happy with the cover, then don’t let them go! If you are writing a series of books, like a series of crime or fantasy novels, then you will want to stay with the same designer through the series, as no one will be more suited to create covers for subsequent books in a series than them.

Succeed book10. Look at Successful Covers

Before selecting your designer, look around at already successful cover designs. Browse the bestseller lists, covers from your favorite authors, see what the covers are like on Amazon and other websites, and check out your competition’s covers from the same genre. Note aspects of their design, do they use certain fonts? Or perhaps you notice a certain color scheme that works. Maybe there are styles of images that work best. Take notes and let your designer know of some examples of covers that impressed you.

About Hilmi Saaid

Hilmi is an Entrepreneur and Founder of BookCoverIdeas.com (BCi). He's also a graphic designer who enjoys experimenting with various design techniques. He is constantly exploring and looking for the next "BIG thing to do."


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